U.S. House panel postpones hearing on fired State Dept watchdog

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on Wednesday it had rescheduled until later in July a hearing in its investigation of the firing of the State Department’s inspector general, with testimony from a top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Brian Bulatao, the under-secretary of State for management, was to have testified to the committee on Thursday. Bulatao has emerged as a central figure in the removal of Steve…

"U.S. House panel postpones hearing on fired State Dept watchdog"

U.S. Senator Cruz will block EPA nomination over biofuels costs to refiners

NEW YORK – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz said on Wednesday he would block the nomination of an Environmental Protection Agency official until the agency brings stability to the rising costs borne by oil refiners for complying with U.S. biofuel blending laws. Cruz, a Republican from Texas, follows a similar statement from Iowa Republican Joni Ernst, who said last week she would block Doug Benevento’s nomination for EPA deputy administrator. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration engaged…

"U.S. Senator Cruz will block EPA nomination over biofuels costs to refiners"

U.S. tech chief executives expected to testify before House panel in late July

WASHINGTON – The chief executives of the four U.S. tech giants — Amazon.com, Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and Apple — will testify before the U.S. Congress in late July as part of an ongoing antitrust probe into the companies, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai of Google and Apple’s Tim Cook will appear as part of the probe by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s antitrust…

"U.S. tech chief executives expected to testify before House panel in late July"

U.S. House approves $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill but outlook uncertain

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives approved a massive $1.5 trillion infrastructure package on Wednesday by a 233 to 188 vote to boost spending on roads, bridges, public transit and rail but the White House and Senate Republicans both said they oppose the measure. Representative Peter DeFazio, the Democrat who chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the measure “deals with the incredibly deteriorated infrastructure in this country” and addresses the threat of climate…

"U.S. House approves $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill but outlook uncertain"

House considering Wednesday vote on Senate-passed business loan program: Hoyer

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives is considering whether to hold a vote on Wednesday on a Senate-approved extension of a $660 billion lending program in an effort to help small businesses that have been hit hard by the coronavirus, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. The Democratic leader said the House is trying to determine whether the money is needed immediately but has not received requested information from the Trump administration. A decision…

"House considering Wednesday vote on Senate-passed business loan program: Hoyer"

U.S. Democrats push to extend $600 weekly coronavirus unemployment benefit

WASHINGTON – Democrats in the U.S. Senate, impatient with the pace of Republicans’ consideration of additional aid related to the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday proposed long-term extensions to a temporary unemployment insurance program. The $600-per-week payments to laid-off workers, which began at the end of March and are set to expire on July 31, would be extended until jobless rates in individual states fell below 11%. On June 5 the U.S. unemployment rate stood at…

"U.S. Democrats push to extend $600 weekly coronavirus unemployment benefit"

Top U.S. business executives urge Congress to pass bipartisan policing reform

– Top business executives in the United Sates are calling on the U.S. Congress to pass bipartisan policing reform before its August recess, in the wake of protests against police brutality and racial bias in the criminal justice system. “Congress cannot afford to let this moment pass,” Joshua Bolten, the president and chief executive of The Business Roundtable group, said in a statement on Wednesday. “There is room for bipartisan agreement on many critical issues…

"Top U.S. business executives urge Congress to pass bipartisan policing reform"

Hopes fade for reform of massive U.S. criminal justice system

WASHINGTON – Despite a renewed focus on wrongful arrests and racial discrimination after the death of George Floyd, meaningful reform of the massive U.S. criminal justice system is unlikely ahead of the November election, politicians and activists say. The United States, where evidence points to COVID-19 tearing unchecked through some jails, has the world’s largest prison population and highest incarceration rate, studies show A toxic relationship between some city police departments and their communities was…

"Hopes fade for reform of massive U.S. criminal justice system"

U.S. Senate Republicans to push next coronavirus aid bill in late July

WASHINGTON – Another potentially large coronavirus aid bill will move through the U.S. Senate in late July, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans predicted on Tuesday. Without providing details of a bill still being crafted, McConnell said “basic protections” provided by federal unemployment insurance should be included but indicated they would not be as generous as those in pandemic-related legislation enacted earlier this year.

"U.S. Senate Republicans to push next coronavirus aid bill in late July"

U.S. Senator Grassley backs plan to block EPA nomination over biofuel waivers

NEW YORK – U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said on Tuesday he supported a plan by one of his Senate colleagues to block the nomination of an Environmental Protection Agency official until the agency makes clear how it would handle requests from oil refiners for retroactive exemptions from their biofuel blending mandates. Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst, both from Iowa, spoke last week with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to discuss the waivers, which biofuel advocates in…

"U.S. Senator Grassley backs plan to block EPA nomination over biofuel waivers"